Balloonacy, ltd LLC, School of Applied Aerostation, offers balloon pilot flight training in the Fayetteville, Georgia area, with other areas available upon request. Our flight training program is conducted under the authority of FAA Air Agency Certificate SU9S747J, which allows us to qualify individuals for their pilot certificates with a reduction in flight time requirements.
Why Part 141?
Ask ten different pilots about Part 141 training, and there will undoubtedly be ten different answers.
Most balloon pilots gain their experience and training through the provisions of Part 61 of the appropriate regulation, which allows for commercial balloonpilots to conduct instruction for aspiring balloon pilots. Unfortunately, this training is most likely conducted without benefit of an appropriate syllabus, course outline, or any structure at all, which leads to incomplete or inappropriate training. It's frequently said that many students learn in spite of their training, rather than because of it. Further, most Part 61 training focuses on the flight training, and there is little or no emphasis on the ground training necessary to pass the knowledge test
Part 141 schools, on the other hand, offer an FAA approved syllabus which allows for an intense, condensed program which properly qualifies the aspiring aeronaut to fly light-than-air craft with the necessary basic skills and knowledge to safely conduct a flight. The few Part 141 programs for balloons that are in the United States are monitored by the Federal Aviation Administration, have gone thru an extensive review and approval process in order to become certified as a Part 141 program, subject to constant monitoring and surveillance in order in maintain the certification standards. Rather than being a "quick-fix" program, Part 141 schools provide quality, structured instruction in an immersion environment, in order to produce a qualified balloon pilot.
The training and eligibility requirements to become a balloon pilot are specified in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 61, Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors. Only flight time requirements are reduced under Part 141.
To be eligible for a Student Pilot Certificate, an individual must be at least 14 years of age, and be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. There are no testing requirements, and a student pilot certificate is usually issued upon application. There is no medical certificate required to operate a hot air balloon.
To be eligible for a Private Pilot Certificate, an individual must be at least 16 years of age, and be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. Additionally, the student applicant must be prepared for, and pass, the Lighter than Air-Free Balloon (PBH) Private Pilot Knowledge Test (the "written test"). The aspiring student pilot must also have received training in a number of areas of aeronautical knowledge, such as the Federal Aviation Regulations, accident reporting requirements, the use of aeronautical charts, radio communications, aeronautical decision making and more. For a full list of aeronautical knowledge requirements, see Part 61.105. A private pilot applicant must also demonstrate proficiency in preflight preparation and procedures, launches and landings, performance maneuvers, navigation, emergency operations, and post flight procedures, in accordance with Part 61.107(b)(8). Under Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, a person seeking certification as a private pilot must have a minimum of 10 hours of flight time, with certain requirements with regards to the number of flights, altitudes, and a solo flight (see Part 61.109); however, training with Balloonacy, as a Part 141 authorized program, the pilot may have as little as 8 hours of flight time to be eligible for certification.
For a Commercial Pilot Certificate, an individual must be at least 18 years of age, and be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. As with the Private Pilot Certificate, the student must be prepared for, and pass, the Lighter-than-Air Free Balloon (CBH) Commercial Pilot Knowledge Test. Additionally, the potential commercial applicant must demonstrate proficiency the fundamentals of instruction as technical subjects, as well as preflight preparation and procedures, launches and landings, performance maneuvers, navigation, and so forth, as specified in Part 61.127(b)(8). Part 61 requires that an individual have a total of 35 hours of flight time, with at least 20 hours of that in balloons, and again with certain rquirements regarding the number of flights, altitudes, and solo flights, but a Part 141 program such as Balloonacy's can do it in as few as ten hours.
It is theoretically possible for an individual to qualify, under Part 141 training, for a commercial pilot certificate in as few as 18 hours of flight time.
(July 21, 2012)
We are currently re-evaluating our pricing structure. Our pricing for Private and Commercial certification has not been increased since 2007; since that time, fuel costs, as well as insurance, have risen significantly. Please contact us directly for pricing information.
The cost for the performance test, commonly referred to as the "checkride" is $300 for BFA members, $355 for non-BFA members. The Balloonacy, ltd School of Applied Aerostatation supports the Balloon Federation of America, and strongly encourages its students to become members.
Up to 25% of previously logged flight time may be credited towards the school's completion requirements; however, there is no discount for that time against the course costs.
Training is generally conducted in the school's normal flying area (south of Atlanta), but under certain circumstances arrangements may be made to bring the school to the student. Contact Dave Sullivan, School Administrator/Flight Instructor for more details.
Book List / Study Material
The following books and study materials are recommended for purchase by the student, and should be in their possession prior to starting training with Balloonacy:
This link will take you to the FAA's website, where you can download a copy of the Balloon Flying Handbook. Large file, and a lot to print, but free.
The following books are also of value to the student aeronaut: How to Fly A Balloon, and Balloon Ground School Home Study Manual, both available from Balloon Publishing of Manteca, California.
Over the past several years, one of the best documents available for study of small area winds has been the Department of Agriculture publication, Fire Weather. Originally published in 1970, it has been a staple of the "old school" group of balloonists, who spent more time learning about the weather than fiddling with every electronic gadget they could get their hands on and cram into the basket.
Unfortunately, it has been out of print for quite some time, and very difficult to find. Recently, I was trolling thru a number of web pages looking for another document, when I found the website for the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, who uses the Fire Weather text as a part of their training program and resource list.
Last I checked with the project office on this, there was no indication that there was going to be an effort to update this document. So, for those who would like to add to their weather library, or perhaps start one, here is a downloadable PDF of the document. Have a good read; maybe you'll learn something new!
One of the responsibilities that a balloon pilot has is to properly brief the crew and passengers prior to inflation and flight. These briefing cards, developed by our friend Rocky Bailey, a long time balloon and helicopter pilot, make it much easier. You can download the cards here, and print them out for your own use. They are designed to be used with Avery Business Card Stock 8376.
All students enrolled in the Balloonacy, ltd School of Applied Aerostation will enroll in the FAA's Integrated Airman Certificate and Rating Application (IACRA) system, as this provides the administrative support necessary to issue a pilot certificate upon course completion. Staff instructors may assist with this procedure; the IACRA system is located at acra.faa.gov/iacra.